Burlington police set to start new gang and violent crimes unit

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Mary Troxler, 91, says the crime in her neighborhood has become so bad that not even the decorations in her front yard are off limits.

“They took my lights I had around that pole there. They took my chairs off my porch,” she said.

“There have been a lot of robberies, people breaking into people houses. They walk the street 24/7,” Clara Burton, Troxler’s daughter, added.

Burton also shared that thieves were bold enough to siphon gas out of one woman’s car.

Residents in the Richmond Avenue area of Burlington say these kinds of instances happen far too often.

Burlington police are set to start a new gang and violent crimes unit -- which will give attention to this neighborhood among others.

The department was previously a part of a former gang unit, but in this re-established version, the focus is broader.

“We're going to be targeting not only gang members but anybody that's doing any type of violent crime,” Sgt. Drew Gerringer with Burlington police said.

Gerringer says police will focus on areas he describes as plagued by certain crimes.

“Rauhut Street, Hatch Street areas, those are also locations where we have had a number of shootings,” he said.

The department is working with the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, which started a gang unit in 2004, but recently re-established its own gang unit.

“It takes constant evolution of our intelligence network,” Randy Jones, spokesperson for the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, said.

“You have to have the resources to work across state lines many times,” Jones added.

Burlington police will talk to residents in hopes that they will be willing to share information to help solve crimes.

“A lot of times they won't give up that information, but they'll tell you if you ask,” Gerringer said.

“Thank the Lord they're doing something now,” Burton said.

Sgt. Gerringer and a detective will be part of the crime unit.

The expectation is to fill  another position for a total of three people.

Burlington’s new gang and violent crime unit is expected to launch April 11.